Managing your soil using soil health practices results in healthy soil that reduces erosion, requires less nutrient inputs, manages the effects of flood and drought, and reduces nutrient and sediment.
Helping People Understand Soils
Soil is a vital part of the natural environment. It influences the distribution of plant species and provides a habitat for a wide range of organisms. It controls the flow of water and chemical substances between the atmosphere and the earth, and acts as both a source and store for gases in the atmosphere. Soil, together with the plant and animal life it supports, forms an amazing, intricate natural system. One of NRCS's main focuses is our Minnesota Cooperative Soils Program. This program is part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, a partnership effort of Federal and State agencies, universities, and professional societies to deliver science-based soils information. Below, you will find links to soil history, useful information, tools and resources by topic.
Soil survey information is regularly updated and posted to: the Web Soil Survey Web Soil Survey (WSS) which provides both tabular and spatial data allowing you to create a custom soil resource report for your specific area of interest; Soil Data Access (SDA); and the Geospatial Data Gateway (GDG). These are the only OFFICIAL and current sources of soils information.
Soil surveys seldom contain detailed site-specific information and are not designed for use as primary regulatory tools in site-specific permitting decisions, but they are useful for broad planning and application. Official Soil Survey Information is public information and may be interpreted by organizations, agencies, units of government, or others based on their own needs; however, users are responsible for the appropriate application of soil survey information. NRCS will not accept reassignment of authority for decisions made by other Federal, State, or local regulatory bodies. NRCS will not make changes to Official Soil Survey Information or of any supplemental soil mapping for purposes related solely to State or local regulatory programs.
Historical information is available in the form of published soil surveys. USDA has been publishing soil surveys since 1899. Many of these publications are archived as PDF files. Please note that all information contained in the archived soil survey manuals (including data, tables, interpretations, and maps) is OBSOLETE and should not be used for planning purposes.
Field Office Technical guides are available through our online portal eFOTG. These documents are the primary scientific references for NRCS. They contain technical information about the conservation of soil, water, air and related plant and animal resources.
Technical guides used in each field office are localized so that they apply specifically to the geographic area for which they are prepared.
LESTER LOAM : Officially designated State Soil of Minnesota in 2012.
In 1985, the Minnesota Association of Professional Soil Scientists (MAPSS) formed a committee tasked to select a soil to represent the State of Minnesota. Association members voted to designate Lester as their state soil in 1987. In 2012, a significant legislative effort was undertaken to establish Lester as the "Official Minnesota State Soil". The culmination of this effort was the signing of the legislation establishing Lester as the "Official Minnesota State Soil" by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on April 28th, 2012.
Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory (KSSL)
Mission: Measure soil properties that are critical to soil survey and conservation efforts of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Cooperative Soil Survey.Learn More
Access maps and databases on soils throughout the United States based on soil surveys conducted since 1899.Learn More
National Design, Construction, and Soil Mechanics Center
Welcome to the NRCS National Design, Construction, and Soil Mechanics Center (NDCSMC) website. The NDCSMC provides NRCS with interdisciplinary technical support for design, construction, operation, and rehabilitation of complex engineering projects essential to resource conservation, environmental enhancement, and agricultural productivity.Learn More
National Cooperative Soil Survey
The National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS), a Nationwide Partnership Dedicated to Soils Since 1899!Learn More